Olivier Award-winning actor Roger Rees died at his Manhattan home on Friday following a fight against cancer. He was 71.
The performer, who last appeared in the West End in 2012 one-man show What You Will, had been performing in Broadway musical The Visit until May, when ill health forced him to leave the production.
The Welsh actor rose to fame playing the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby, a role that saw him win both Olivier and Tony Awards. It was one of many roles Rees played for the Stratford-upon-Avon based company in the 22 years he spent working with them.
What You Will, and his 2010 appearance opposite Sir Ian McKellen in Waiting For Godot, marked rare returns to the London stage for the once RSC regular who made the move to the US following his casting in hugely successful sitcom Cheers.
His varied career in the US included lending his voice to animated TV series The Legend Of Prince Valiant, playing Thomas Paine in mini-series Liberty! and regularly appearing in acclaimed political drama The West Wing.
On Broadway he most recently appeared in The Addams Family and The Winslow Boy, and directed Peter And The Starcatcher.
His Peter And The Starcatcher producer Catherine Schreiber is among many to have paid tribute to the star on Twitter, saying:
The universe has lost a shining star and some so needed goodness and kindness. We will miss you #RogerRees
— Catherine Schreiber (@WOW_Catherine) July 11, 2015
Fellow star of stage and screen Patrick Stewart, who Rees replaced in Waiting For Godot, said:
Brilliant actor, dear friend and colleague, witty, kind, private man, Roger Rees died this morning. A space is left that cannot be filled.
— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) July 11, 2015
Fellow Broadway star Harvey Fierstein tweeted:
Sending out giant hugs to the circle of ROGER REES’ loved ones. We lost a true treasure. An artist. A lover. A human being at full potential
— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) July 11, 2015
And Almeida Theatre Artistic Director Rupert Goold had advice for anyone who had not seen Rees on stage or wanted to recall his talent:
— rupertgoold (@rupertgoold) July 11, 2015